THE ONE MOVIE THIS FALL THAT WILL PUT A SMILE ON YOUR FACE.
30-year-old London primary school teacher Pauline “Poppy” Cross (Sally Hawkins) always looks at the bright side of life, but her driving instructor (Eddie Marsan) poses a very special challenge. It’s hard not to find Poppy a nuisance, with her constant silly jokes and seeming inability to take anything seriously. But in the hands of Mike Leigh, who knows how to make a film like this ring true, she slowly grows on us and we realize that she does take responsibility and is a much more attractive human being than many others in her life. Leigh makes us think about our daily prejudices, and the intense showdowns between Hawkins and Marsan are spellbinding.
2008-Britain. 118 min. Color. Widescreen. Produced by Simon Channing Williams. Written and directed by Mike Leigh. Cast: Sally Hawkins (Pauline “Poppy” Cross), Eddie Marsan (Scott), Alexis Zegerman (Zoe), Andrea Riseborough, Sinéad Matthews, Kate O’Flynn.
Golden Globe: Best Actress (Hawkins). Berlin: Best Actress (Hawkins).
Last word: “There are people who the least little thing, they grumble and complain, and their world falls apart. On the other end of the spectrum there are loads of people around who say, c’mon, my bike’s been stolen – but all the crying in the world won’t bring it back. And my back’s gone out, let’s get it fixed. There’s a certain mythology about this film. Because when she finds she has a kid in her class who’s plainly disturbed, she doesn’t say, hey, so what, she deals with it. It’s not accurate to talk about her in terms of this relentless cheerfulness.” (Leigh, indieWire)